, born January 24, 1936
, is an American fiddle
player, singer and songwriter from Louisiana
. He has been a major figure in the popularization of Cajun music
, singing in both French and English.
Born Douglas James Kershaw in Tiel Ridge, Cameron Parish, Louisiana
, in an area known as Cajun
country, he traces his ancestry to Acadians
who were part of the Great Expulsion
by the British
authorities from their homeland in eastern Canada
The son of an alligator hunter, Kershaw was the seventh child born to a family that eventually included five boys and four girls. Raised in a home where Cajun French was spoken, he didn't learn English until the age of eight. By that time, he had mastered the fiddle, which he played from the age of five, and was on his way to teaching himself to play an amazing 28 instruments. His first gig was at a local bar, the Bucket of Blood, where he was accompanied by his mother on guitar.
Doug became interested in Cajun music during parties his parents would hold on the family's houseboat
in Louisiana, where he first heard Cajun bands playing the music. While his father was out fishing, Doug would get his father's fiddle off the shelf and play it. One day he dropped the instrument. When his father saw it was cracked, he took Doug into the other room and said "if you can play this then I won't have to whip you." Doug played two songs he... Read More